Just the other day, I was looking for a PDF reader I purchased quite a while ago in the Google Play Store so that I could catch up on reading an important manual over the 4th of July holiday. Although I knew what the app was, I couldn’t remember the exact name at the time, and was unable to actually find the app that I had purchased in the Play Store. The reason for this is very simple: Google hasn’t done a very good job organizing previous app purchases and installs in the Play Store, making a potentially useful feature almost worthless. Instead of a sensible, organized system, there is a jumbled list that makes it difficult to find what you are looking for.
Not being able to find a specific app may seem like an odd problem, but when you download and purchase as many apps as I do, it can get to be a real pain for a few reasons. I have always installed lots of apps both free and paid, and the number of apps that I install has gotten even larger since I started reviewing apps here on Pocketables. The result is that the very poorly designed “All” section of “My Apps” in Google Play gets overloaded with too many apps, making it quite difficult to find what I am looking for. Because any app that you install even once is on the list, it means that I have quite a number of apps from that I tried and didn’t like, not to mention all the no longer relevant apps from when I had my original Droid, cluttering up my list of previously used, purchased, and installed applications.
The reason this is such a problem is that I would like to be able to use the “My Apps” section of the Play Store as a way to keep track of cool apps that I have tried, and useful apps that I have installed in the past. Because I change ROMs quite a lot, I frequently have to reinstall applications, and not being able to find the one that I was using just the other day is quite annoying. However, obviously the Play Store has to keep track of all the apps you have ever installed, so how can the list be made more useful? Actually, the past Android Market dealt with this a little better by having a filter to show all your paid apps, installed or not. While the old version of the market may not have come with an “All” tab, the paid filter was quite a good idea.
What I would like Google to do in order to make the app listing much more useful is to add filters to the list. Want to find a paid app that you installed three months ago? A paid and install date filter can do that. Want to find that game you really liked last month but lost track of when you installed a new ROM? Just use the filter for the games category and the install date and you are good to go. Just adding categories for the list based on what those already in the Play Store would go a long way, and more detailed install date filters would be even better.It would also be nice if Google gave you the ability to delete old apps from the listing, as I don’t really need 10 different video apps on the list from back when I was testing .avi files cluttering up the apps list. This, though, is a secondary feature that would be nice to have, but wouldn’t really be as necessary if Google would add filters to your previously installed apps in the Play Store.
Maybe I’m just complaining about something no one else cares about, but it seems to me that the Play Store would become much more useful with filters for your previously installed apps. Let me know if you agree in the comments, or if perhaps there is a better way to maintain a list of apps that I may want in the future, but don’t necessarily want installed right now.